A few weeks ago, a friend asked, as her facebook status, How did you find out the truth about Santa?
Several people had commented. Despite the years that have passed, everyone can remember how it happened.
I remember my moment very distinctly. I had received a new bike for Christmas--from Santa. As tradition went, I headed over to my next-door-neighbors' house to check out their loot. When their mom asked me what I got for Christmas, I told her I got a bike. Her response, "Oh yeah, I saw your parents bring that home." I can still feel the disappointment. Being a pretty late believer, I had my suspicions but it was still devastating to know the truth.
Sadly, my poor husband never remembers believing in Santa. By the time he came around, the magic was lost--one of the sad disadvantages of being the youngest of 8 children.
We were kind of at odds about the Santa situation. Should we perpetuate the myth? Should we detract from the true meaning of Christmas? I tried to explain that Santa was more than the presents. He brings a joy to Christmas that can't be replicated. When I found out the truth, a part of me, a part of my childlike innocence died.
I saw this letter (maybe you've seen it floating around the internet) and it touched my heart. This is what Santa is all about.
Thank you for your letter. You asked a very good question: “Are you Santa?”
I know you’ve wanted the answer to this question for a long time, and I’ve had to give it careful thought to know just what to say.
The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa.
I am the person who fills your stockings with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mom did for me, and the same way her mom did for her. (And yes, Daddy helps, too.)
I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights.
This won’t make you Santa, though.
Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch.
It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments.
Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy.
With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible.
So, no. I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too.
I love you and I always will.